Take the case of Michael Jordan
Q: Does success breed success? Are people more likely to succeed if they wind up with a successful organization like the New York Yankees or performing beside stars such as Derek Jeter? How often does the expectation and aura of success become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Organizations are important, but in the end, a critical mass of individual talent is the difference between being in the play-offs and winning championships. In business and in sports, there are many examples of all-star individuals who have taken good, solid teams all the way. There are many more examples of all-stars working with C players, and with a few rare exceptions; those teams don't go all the way.
Locally, we saw that firsthand, when Michael Jordan came out of retirement in 2001. For two seasons he attempted to take a good, but not great, team into the playoffs. At the Bulls, he had Pippen, Paxson, Kerr, Rodman and many more great players around him. No such luck in D.C. because not even Michael Jordan, with his extraordinary individual talent and incredible drive, could lead this team past the regular season.
Organizations, in business and sports, can help develop good raw talent into great teams but it requires a long-term philosophy, patience, leadership and a structured program that can turn good individual players into a great team. On Wednesday night, we saw another example firsthand when a collection of extremely talented individual baseball players, the New York Yankees, came together as a team and become World Champions.
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